Liverpool, United Kingdom | AFP | Jurgen Klopp has called on Liverpool to produce “something special” when they face Napoli in a do-or-die Champions League showdown on Tuesday.
Klopp’s side must beat Napoli at Anfield to stand any chance of progressing from their group into the knockout stages.
A 1-0 victory or any two-goal win will see the Reds through.
Liverpool have a long history of success on big European nights on their own ground, dating all the way back to the memorable European Cup quarter-final win over Saint-Etienne in 1977 that kick-started their continental reign.
That gives Klopp hope as he prepares to face a major test against Napoli, who are second in Serie A and unbeaten in Champions League Group C, having defeated Liverpool 1-0 when they met in Italy in October.
The Italian side have continued to look strong despite losing manager Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea in July, with Carlo Ancelotti taking over and Klopp knows Liverpool will have to produce one of their most dominant displays to advance.
“We really need to make sure we are ready for Napoli. It’s difficult to come in after a successful coach such as Sarri and make changes but they are so good,” Klopp told reporters on Monday.
“We know the result we need, and it’s difficult because Napoli are dangerous on the counter attack and good defending.
“They are a typical Italian team. But if something special is possible, then it’s here, and we will try that.”
Liverpool go into Tuesday’s match in good spirits, having gone top of the Premier League on Saturday when they won 4-0 at Bournemouth and previous leaders Manchester City lost 2-0 at Chelsea.
Klopp, however, is certain that his players will not get carried away, either in the Premier League or in Europe, given the defeats they have suffered in their group this season.
– Confident –
“We will not get carried away. We know how difficult it is,” he said.
“We are not the most experienced side but we know our way and which way we will go all the time.
“The league is not important at the moment because tomorrow we play Napoli. We were confident before the away games in Napoli and Belgrade, and that didn’t help.”
Klopp, meanwhile, has commended former Liverpool player Raheem Sterling for the way he dealt with alleged racist abuse directed towards him while playing for Manchester City at Chelsea on Saturday.
Chelsea and the Metropolitan Police are investigating the allegations after a video was posted on social media that showed the England winger being shouted at by Chelsea fans as he collected the ball behind the goal.
On Sunday, Sterling published a post on Instagram saying that British newspapers are helping to “fuel racism” because of the way they portray young black footballers.
He also wrote in the post that he “had to laugh” when he heard the alleged racist remarks during the game because he expects “no better”.
“I watched the game and I think I saw the situation when he went for the corner and I saw a few guys shouting,” he said.
“I didn’t hear, I’m not sure if it was possible to hear what they shouted, but I already thought his reaction was just brilliant.
“You saw his face. He gave the right response, not to react for these people.
“They don’t deserve any reaction, they don’t deserve any respect.
“I am obviously not surprised that things like this still happen but I like the fact that we put the finger on it and say: ‘You cannot say what you want, it is not possible.'”